On the Lam | What Does This Useful Idiom Mean?

Have you ever listened to an English conversation and heard someone using the term ‘on the lam’? If you have, you may wonder what the speaker was referring to. We are going to take a look at the meaning of this phrase and how it can be used in a day to day conversation. We will also look into where the term originally came from.

On the Lam

“On the Lam” Meaning

The meaning of the term ‘on the lam’ means to run away, escape or flee. It can be used to describe someone who is missing or has run away.

Origin of this idiom

The term ‘on the lam’ first came from the late 1800s. The word lam originally meant ‘flight’ which could be another way of referring to an escape or fleeing. The term originated from the United States.

“On the Lam” Examples

Examples in Statement

This is a statement being made by a police officer about a criminal.

  • ‘The suspect is on the lam and we have no idea where he has gone.’

This is a statement being made by a news reporter.

  • ‘The girl is on the lam and her family are looking for her.’

More useful examples:

  • Brenner was recaptured after three weeks on the lam.
  • The robbers were on the lam for several days before they were caught.
  • Mrs. Taylor, her husband at her side, surrendered to police Saturday after two days on the lam.
  • He’s always in some kind of trouble and perpetually on the lam.
  • Erik was on the lam for killing a man who had refused to return some borrowed bedsteads.

Conversation Examples

If you would like to know how the term ‘on the lam’ can be used during a conversation, here are some examples to show how it might sound.

The first conversation is happening between two friends.

  • Person 1: “Do you know where Ian is?”
  • Person 2: “I think he went on the lam after his argument with his wife.”

This next conversation is taking place between a husband and wife.

  • Person 1: “There have been a lot of people going missing just recently.”
  • Person 2: “Yes, I saw on the news yesterday.”
  • Person 1: “You’d think it was becoming a trend to be on the lam.”

Other Ways to Say “On the Lam”

There are many other ways in which you can express the meaning of the term ‘on the lam.’

Here are some examples of other things you might say in its place.

  • Gone awol
  • Ran away
  • Making an escape
  • Running from the police

On the Lam Meaning | Picture

On the LamPin